Life, Death, and Ugandan Health Care


When my son was fourteen, he spent 4 days in the International Hospital of Kampala, a private hospital started by an Irish doctor, for pneumonia. Despite being the premiere hospital in Uganda at that time, it was a pretty hair-raising experience. I’m very thankful for the British doctor who took over the case the second afternoon, and very thankful that we were able to make the daily payments at the bursar’s office to keep him in care.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time in local and regional hospitals during the three years I worked with Hospice Jinja and Hospice Tororo. These are the kinds of hospitals with 1930’s style metal beds where you have to bring your own mattress if you want one, and a family member has to stay with you, often sleeping under your bed in a 40+ person ward and cooking on a charcoal pile outside so you have food and someone to change your bandages.

Unfortunately, the latter is the norm for most Ugandans. Since the pandemic, even the government hospitals, such as those I visited, charge in advance for care, effectively excluding most before they can even be seen. Maternity care and labor and delivery services are almost nonexistent.

Sadly, yesterday morning our farmer, Derrick, lost his wife in childbirth. The baby girl is healthy, but the mother passed away. I don’t know the specific reason, but it is probably something shocking to our Western sensibilities because it is so easily treated. This is way too common for Ugandan women.

We have a project up to pay for transport and the burial costs. Yesterday was a Muslim holiday so nothing could be done, but today Derrick will begin the process of burying his wife. We’ve already sent the money for his expenses, but this is outside of our normal budget. If you’re interested in helping, the project link is below.

Mostly, I want to thank you for your support of our compound clinic. While the majority of our nurse’s time is spent on things like malaria, typhoid, and pink eye, both Nurse Sherry and now Nurse Brenda have stayed with our teen girls as they give birth, rushed sick babies to the hospital in the middle of the night and made sure they got seen, and taken hurt toddlers to the children’s hospital in Mulago to make sure they get appropriate treatment and care.

YOU are doing that. You are giving a tremendous gift — the gifts of health and of life. We truly cannot thank you enough.

Mwebele nnyo,


PS – I woke up Thur morning and found that you all had already funded this project! That’s amazing!

If you’d like to make a donation to Derrick’s baby’s needs and care, you can still donate to this project (It can go over 100%) and we will purchase baby items and other things the caregivers may need with however much we get in.

Project for Derrick

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